I have found that working with chocolate without sugar and much fat really is quite a challenge because it is hard to get the flavor to be strong without those components. If you have ever wondered why coffee and cinnamon are in a lot of recipes with chocolate, it is because they enhance the intensity of the chocolate flavor without really coming across strongly as independent flavors. While you can skip the coffee in these recipes, it will make for a more anemic tasting result. Even if you hate coffee, it's good to use them in baking chocolate sweets in many cases.
I wanted to make a chocolate baked oatmeal, but I thought it might work better if it were more "cake-like" and less crumbly than my usual baked oatmeal. The result was a delicate, surprisingly light and soft cake bar which was (still) a bit crumbly, but generally held together well. I wouldn't recommend eating it when you're wearing a white shirt.
Chocolate Oatmeal Cake Bars (sugar-free, reduced fat, whole grain):
1 medium egg
1/2 cup skim milk
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 tbsp. espresso or very strong coffee
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup Splenda granular
1 1/2 cups rolled oats (regular, not quick cooking), divided into half
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F./175 degrees C.
- Spray a 11" x 7" pan with cooking spray (I used metal non-stick).
- Whisk the egg, milk, oil, applesauce, coffee, and vanilla until smoothly blended.
- Add the vanilla, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt, and Splenda and whisk well.
- Put 3/4 cup of oatmeal into a small bowl food processor and process until ground as finely as possible.
- Add the ground oats, remaining 3/4 cup of whole oatmeal, whole wheat flour, and baking powder to the mixture and stir until evenly mixed.
- Spread the mixture into the pan and bake for 20 minutes. Do not overbake! A toothpick inserted in the center should come out with moist crumbs, not clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature and cut into squares.